Giraffe, 3 tigers die in Patna zoo

Authorities fail to provide treatment on time

By Alok Gupta
Published: Wednesday 05 September 2012

The death of three tiger cubs within a span of three weeks has exposed lack of medical facilities at the Sanjay Gandhi Biological and Zoological Park in Patna.

On August 15, Swarna, a royal Bengal tigress, gave birth to three cubs. They were separated from their mother as she suffered severe intestinal infection. Barely two weeks after the separation, the first cub died on August 28.

The zoo authorities were not able to diagnose the infection of the tigress. Delay in her treatment adversely affected the cubs. “Breastfeeding of infectious milk proved fatal for cubs,” said D K Shukla, chief wildlife warden. He also informed that medical infrastructure for treatment of animals is limited inside the zoo. After the death of second cub on September 2, authorities sought the help of Wildlife Trust of India (WTI). Doctors were not able to ascertain the type of infection. Abhinit Bhawal from WTI tried to diagnose and ensured goat milk was being given to the cubs. Despite their efforts, the team of doctors was unable to save the third cub that died on September 3.

The autopsy report of the first cub reveals that there was extreme mineral deficiency in its body. Zoo doctors accepted that all the three cubs refused to accept bottle feed of goat milk. “They were put on intravenous liquid,” said Ajit Kumar, a zoo veterinarian. Earlier this year, a newly born calf of a giraffe died on January 28, only 36 hours after its birth.

The zoo does not have adequate medical staff. There are only two veterinarians to look after 1,200 wild animals. Veterinarians rued that the state government frequently transfers doctors from the zoo to other places. “This is the reason why none of the veterinarians in Bihar have expertise in treating wild animals,” doctors said.

Shocked over the frequent death of new born wild animals, zoo director Abhay Kumar has decided to send a proposal to Central Zoo Authority to upgrade the health infrastructure inside the zoo. “Our proposal seeks a fund of Rs 1 crore to enhance the medical facility for animals,” he said.

The mother tigress, meanwhile, is still suffering from intestinal infection. Caretakers of the enclosure said the tigress looks weak and emotionally distressed after her cubs were taken away.

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.